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Subject: Softening painting layers

Softening painting layers

From: Nina Roth-Wells <backriver1<-a>
Date: Saturday, May 21, 2005
Ulrik Runeberg <rune-ulrik [at] gmx__de> writes

>Who has gained experience in softening deformed painting layers
>(traditional oil and acrylic painting media)?

I have had very good experiences using Aquazol and a Leister hot air
gun. Recently I have worked on two very different paintings using
variations of this technique.  One painting was mid 20th century
painting with highly soluble areas of flaking, curling and lifting
paint.  The other was the painted background of Shadowbox for a
ships model, from the late 19th century, which had large areas of
extremely brittle paint that was curled away from the surface in
very large flakes.  Aquazol can be dissolved in both water and
alcohols and combinations of the two.  Unlike Beva it does not leave
a waxy residue although it does leave a bit of surface sheen I have
found the more alcohol you can use in the solution the more matte
the adhesive will be.

My technique has been to flood the area with an eyedropper and then
heat it while still wet with the Leister.  Of course you will have
to determine how much heat the paint will tolerate.  With gentle
pressure from fingers remember to use silicone mylar as a release
sheet I have found that very fragile and stubborn flakes can be laid
down. The aqueous nature of Aquazol helps to relax the paint more
effectively than solvent based systems and the introduction of
alcohol can help to reduce the surface tension and allow for better
penetration.  The residues are easily removable with water.  If you
have more questions please email me directly and I will go into more
depth about this technique also the January 2004 WAAC newsletter has
a great article about the uses of Aquazol which I have found very

Nina Roth-Wells
Painting conservator in private practice
Georgetown Maine

                  Conservation DistList Instance 18:56
                  Distributed: Saturday, June 4, 2005
                       Message Id: cdl-18-56-003
Received on Saturday, 21 May, 2005

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